Well it is time for me to pack my bags again and head back to the "City Beautiful" (That is Orlando's nickname for those that don't know). I always find it interesting what ends up in the headlines following the shareholder meeting, because it usually doesn't mesh with what I think of as the big news. For example, the New York Times headline is about Disney offering classic shows online. While I think this is an exciting prospect, especially for Disney fans, I am not surprised Bob mentioned it at the 2008 Shareholder Meeting, because he talked about it at the 2007 Shareholder Meeting. Where is the news? The Hollywood Reporter examines the fund manager that put Bob to task about not releasing "The Path to 9/11" on DVD. The fund manager asked why Disney did not sell the rights to Lionsgate, but the Hollywood Reporter claims that Lionsgate has no serious interest in acquiring the film. The irony is that they examine Disney's involvment with Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11, a film Disney did not release and was a major cause of the rift between Disney and Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein.
Disney did not release Farenheit 9/11 because they felt doing so would not be in the best interest of the company. That is the same reason Disney is using for not releasing The Path to 9/11 on DVD. I think this shows that the company does not have any political biasis and the leaders of the company, regardless of their personal political beliefs, feel that the company would be best served by being apolitical. Of course Disney has no problem getting political on a cause that is near and dear to my heart; copyright extension. Speaking of Miramax, Scott Rudin, the man that was behind Miramax's Oscar Winner "No Country for Old Men", just acquired the rights to "The Unnamed," an upcoming novel by Joshua Ferris. This shows, along with their Best Picture Oscar, that Miramax is still alive and kicking under the direction of Daniel Battsek even if the division does not get as much media attention as it did when the Weinsteins were around.
One final note regarding the meeting. The local ABC affiliate in Albuquerque, KOAT, had an interview with Bob Iger since he was in town. It might have been the worst interview I have ever seen of Bob. The local anchor only asked ABC questions like when is Grey's Anatomy returning with new episodes. KOAT is an ABC affiliate, don't they know the answer? Is there no better question for one of the most powerful men in Hollywood? What should I expect from a newscast whose top story was the death of Dusty the rescue dog. I am sure Dusty is a hero, but is this the most important news of the day?
Looking ahead we have more Bob Iger fun next week when he addresses the Bear Stearns 21st Annual Media Conference on Monday. I wonder if anyone in the investment community will ask him about "Song of the South".